The mountain ski resort of Vail., Colo., has a lot to offer those looking to hit the slopes or spend a quiet weekend outside, and now, with the new Chasing Rabbits, it has a nightlife venue with something for just about everyone.
“Chasing Rabbits is surrounded by world renowned dining, retail, and hospitality, but what was missing was an elevated nightlife and entertainment experience for the guests and residents of the Vail Valley," said Sharon Cohn, president at Solaris Group, the Vail-based development firm that launched the concept. "The expression 'chasing rabbits' implies doing something totally irrelevant or being distracted from what you intend to do, which is how we wanted our guests to feel when they entered the space."
Located in the heart of Vail Village inside the 13,000-square-foot Solaris Plaza, the concept features four separate venues, including Chasing Rabbits Restaurant, The Library, Rabbit Hole and Moon Rabbit. There's also Film House, which shows movies at two of the venues nightly. In theory, visitors could spend all day at Chasing Rabbits, dining, playing games and catching a flick complete with snacks. And, while the space feels grown up, it also caters to families looking for fun when not enjoying the mountains.
"Our programming will keep things fresh and fun throughout the year," said Marcus Cascio, director of hospitality at Solaris Group. "Prior to Chasing Rabbits, there hasn’t been a true nightlife experience available to guests and residents of Vail."
Entertainment includes a daily screening of movies from kid-friendly flicks to oldies to cult favorites. Weekly, guests can enjoy live jazz performances in Moon Rabbit, and then head to the Rabbit Hole for DJs and arcade games. Cascio said the venue has also partnered with Vail Comedy for monthly shows. It will host weekly Bingo nights too.
Of course food and beverage remain the crux of Chasing Rabbits. Just as each spot looks completely different than the next, it has its own menus too. The signature restaurant features Mediterranean fare and drinks made with spirits from Greece, Sicily, and Sardinia. At Moon Rabbit the mood is more Shanghai speakeasy than Vail mountain house, with dim sum and an Asian twist to the cocktails.
The Rabbit Hole tips a hat to the whimsy of Alice in Wonderland with elevated versions of childhood favorites such as lobster corn dogs and foie gras lollipops. The drinks too speak to the space, and like the arcade games littered about (think Skee-Ball and Pac-Man), the cocktails have a 1980's vibe and Tiki twist.
Also on the drinks side, many of the beers available are local to Colorado, but the wine program features European and Californian bottles.
"We also made a conscious effort to include many female- and minority-owned winemakers and vineyard owners which are represented throughout the menu," said Cascio.
Prices for food and drink average $75 per person for a two-course meal and a cocktail, which are about $18 apiece. At the Chasing Rabbits Restaurant items such as shawarma-spiced hanger steak run $45, roasted eggplant moussaka is $24, and a starter of sea bream ceviche costs $24.
Standing out from the other concepts is the Film House, which screens two ticketed movies daily, one in Moon Rabbit and one in the Rabbit Hole. Movies are shown during normal bar hours too, which anyone can enjoy by renting headphones to listen to the show on their own. Both spots serve food and drink before, after, and during the films.
"You can curate your own experience, and that experience can change each time you visit," Cascio said. "Guests can have an intimate dinner in The Library, cocktails at Moon Rabbit, or bring in the family to have some food and fun in the Rabbit Hole."
Building the ambitious space took about two years. The Solaris Group tapped Rockwell Group, an award-winning architecture and design firm behind nightlife hotspots including TAO, Nobu, and OMNIA, to create the space. Overall, the goal is to create a popular place for the younger generations to enjoy, and hopefully, Cohn said, to bring in new customers to the Vail Valley.